No matter how confident graduates might be about their future job prospects, in the turbulent atmosphere of today’s economy the outlook is grim. Now more than ever, graduates are relying heavily on their abilities to network with alumni who are often willing to advocate for, and even employ, former Cornell students.
Julia Levy ’05 is the chair of the Young Alumni Committee in New York — a program to better accommodate recent Cornell grads in a developing job market. Originally from Atlanta, Levy moved to New York City after graduating from Cornell and began searching for resources through which she could contact alumni. After attending an organizational meeting for the YAC, she decided to join.
“When I first joined the committee, it was all about social activities,” Levy stated in an e-mail. “While those were a lot of fun, being new to New York, I wanted to explore more.” Since then, Levy has organized events, some with hundreds of attending graduates, that range from participation in a dodge ball league for young professionals, to Broadway show viewings, to happy hours on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum.
“[Graduates] have the opportunity to reach out to [alumni] for guidance. Being involved is a great way to give back to Cornell [and] meet and reconnect with alumni,” Levy stated.
More recently, the committee has responded to the economic downturn by hosting events designed to help advise new alumni on financial matters. Levy reached out to former Cornell graduate student and scientist at JustThrive.com, Matt Wallaert to organize an informational event with Avinash Karnani, co-founder and CEO of the company. JustThrive.com offers asset counseling for young professionals, and Wallaert and Karnani provided money-management and budgetary guidance to attendees.
For students seeking jobs outside of New York City, Levy stressed that the YAC is not relegated to the Big Apple.
“[Washington] D.C. hosts a lot of great activities as well as L.A.,” Levy stated.
For the current student looking to become involved down the road as an alumnus, Levy encouraged them to become involved in on-campus informational events for companies that interest them. For Levy, this provided a “natural transition” into organizing and interacting with professionals in the real world. And new participation is always welcome, she stated.
“There is always something new to add and build on, and having such creative and entrepreneurial young alumni as part of the leadership of this organization is exciting.”